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Vito’s ‘abuse’ of power! Lopez called city worker to get goods in political case

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Assemblyman Vito Lopez “abused” his office when he called a city employee and asked him to provide documents that he wanted to use in a bid to kick a political opponent off the ballot this year.

Good government groups blasted Lopez (D-Williamsburg) for placing a call to Housing Authority Intergovernmental Affairs Director Brian Honan last week, reminding him to appear in court and bring information regarding the leases of his opponent’s campaign workers.

Lopez is head of the Assembly Housing Committee and is invaluable to Honan on a variety of state legislation. That relationship colored the whole interchange, said Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause, a government watchdog.

“The head of the housing committee calling a city agency [in an election case] is an abuse of power,” said Lerner. “It’s not a courtesy reminder. It is an attempt to use his own personal political purposes for political gain and that’s improper. It looks like an attempt to intimidate the witness.”

Citizens Union Executive Director Dick Dadey agreed, saying that Lopez’s actions in the race were “outrageous” and “mind-boggling.”

“He may have abused the power of his office by requesting a city employee to participate in a political election dispute,” said Dadey. “It crosses a line.”

The concerning incident began last week when Lopez, who is also the chairman of the Kings County Democratic Party, sued Esteban Duran, his primary challenger for a district leader position, alleging that Duran’s nominating petitions contained widespread fraud and should be invalidated.

Civil Court Judge Carolyn Demarest subpoenaed Honan, the housing authority staffer, to bring in copies of Duran volunteers’ leases in public housing buildings to verify that those petition collectors actually lived where they claimed to. Honan said the reminder call from Lopez troubled him.

“I wanted to know as little about this as possible,” Honan testified. “I’m involved in government work, not in political work. [But] our general counsel said, ‘We have to provide the leases because we’ve been subpoenaed.’ ”

Lopez and Honan typically discuss bills, but this time the topic was evidence that Lopez needed for his legal challenge against a political opponent. Duran’s attorney, Leo Glickman, said Lopez crossed the line by calling Honan and asking “about those subscribing witnesses.”

In addition, Lopez’s assembly staff members volunteered for the legal challenge, rounding up witnesses to testify against Duran and spending several days in court to observe and assist the proceedings, which was revealed during witness cross-examinations.

But those efforts were for naught.

Last Friday, Judge Demarest dismissed Lopez’s motion, writing that Lopez was unable to prove that fraud occurred.

Lopez appealed the case and a hearing for oral arguments in appellate court occurred on Tuesday. The court’s decision was expected on Thursday, as we went to press.

Lopez did not call us back.

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Reader Feedback

anywho says:
Business as usual for Lopez and his crew. Lopez is confusing himself with Vito Corleone. What were you going to do Lopez, break the some legs?

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. "

Lopez: Retire before you and Angela get locked up.
Aug. 18, 2010, 12:04 pm
Vito Corleone from Boerum says:
Another slanderous remark made about Italians.

Why don't you relate this matter to your own life.
Aug. 18, 2010, 3:32 pm
Moshe aron Kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
So What Else Is News? - Watch out guys if the law does not permit him to do so, Vito Low-paz will make a law that allows him to do so.
Aug. 18, 2010, 3:51 pm
Dav from Bushwick says:
“Abuse you loose” it’s about time this bum and his company should be out of office!! Lets make it happen…..yes we can....
Aug. 18, 2010, 4:19 pm
anywho says:
"Another slanderous remark made about Italians.
Why don't you relate this matter to your own life."

Oh please, it was a movie reference, get a grip.

Here is a another, Latino flavored for a pseudo Latino like Lopez.

"In this country, you gotta make the money first. And then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, you get the woman."

In Lopez' case, "women". Fit right into that Latin machismo stereotype.

Is that good enough?
Aug. 18, 2010, 8:10 pm
Joe from Breezy Point says:
All who oppose chairman Lopez will be sent to the Gulag !!
Aug. 20, 2010, 1:21 am
Guido Fauci from Bay Ridge says:
Real abuse occurs when a prosecutor is allowed to engage in a politically motivated persecution of a politically active "defendant" strictly for political reasons.

Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, a Republican, finally went after Ralph Perfetto, a Democratic District Leader on a single misdemeanor count after having had the case in his office for over a year and a half.

This only happened after Donovan launched his campaign for New York State Attorney General and wanted the endorsement of Staten Island and Brooklyn Republican leaderships. The Brooklyn Republican leadership has repeatedly used the Perfetto prosecution as part of its campaign against Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer and Congressman Mike McMahon, both of whom need Perfetto's support to win in November.
Sept. 1, 2010, 8:03 pm
ObamaFan from NYC says:
he needs to be locked up in jail!!!
Aug. 30, 2012, 8:32 pm

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